Futuristic racing gets a new pulse on the PSP. WipEout Pulse stays true to the tradition of the series while adding a few new tricks. It is time to trade in your old WipEout Pure UMD for the new and improved WipEout Pulse.

WipEout Pulse doesn’t skip a beat returning to the PSP. The timing is perfect returning after a few years since the PSP launched with WipEout Pure. WipEout Pulse remind gamers how much fun this take on futuristic racing can be. If you haven’t placed a WipEout game in the past it is like the classic racer F-Zero which came out for the Nintendo SNES in 1990. Five years from the release F-Zero, something must have sparked with in the Sony camp as they released WipEout on the original PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Over the years the WipEout franchise has been released on all the Sony platforms and even the Nintendo 64. WipEout Pure launched with the PSP and WipEout 3 is expected on the PS3 at sometime.

Europe has already been playing WipEout since December so WipEout Pulse is old news, however for the kids across the pond it’s a big deal indeed. If you are a fan of the series, it’s almost impossible to screw up the simple format and this is what Sony proves once again in WipEout Pulse. What helps WipEout is its futuristic setting in the 2207 where there are no preconceived rules. In the Anti-Gravity Racing League anything goes, definitely a far cry from NASCAR. In a switch from older versions of WipEout you don’t have to earn you rank to get into the faster races. I guess Sony Liverpool finally gets that most gamers have been playing WipEout for a while now. If you’re new to WipEout don’t worry about this speed because that is what the game is all about. Learning to race with the fast speed in the beginning is actually a good idea because when the game gets into the more difficult tracks you will have the speed of the game mastered.

The new grid system in the Pulse career is broken into different events that are placed in cells in a large grid. When you earn enough points in a race another one will open up eventually leading to new grids. WipEout Pulse also goes further than races and gives gamers challenges like time trials, or restricting the use of weapons or power-ups, head-to-head battles and more. Giving the amount of grids and cells slapped into each area there is certainly a lot of value wrapped up in the career mode of WipEout Pulse. However, even though there are a good amount of challenges, WipEout Pulse only features twelve racetracks. These are jumped up and reversed, but it can get a little stale racing over the same tracks over and over. One good point about having repetitive tracks is that you will quickly learn all the tricky spots in each race.

One thing to keep in mind with WipEout Pulse is that it’s very challenging and you will need lightning fast reflexes to become good at the game. Even the first two challenges Moa Therma White Single Race and Talon’s Junction White Time Trial gave me a run for my money. If you need help you can thankfully change the A.I. difficulty on the fly by hitting the [sqaure] button in the menu. Three difficulty levels are available easy, medium, and hard. The artificial intelligence in WipEout Pulse seems fairly intelligent offing a good challenge to experienced WipEout gamers.

How you get the job done in WipEout comes in eight ship flavours. Each ship is rated in four categories Speed, Thrust, Handling, and Shield. Each rating is important, but as you might have suspected, there is no perfect vessel. Each ship will have its advantages and disadvantages and some that seem to sit nice in the middle. Depending on how you play there is a ship for you. Experimenting is wise to do at first until you find the one that feels like a glove. If you’re hitting a lot of walls like a drunken sailor than you might need something a little more stable like the Triakis, if you nimble and quick maybe the EG-X is the way to go. For looks the ships either look like a bobsled or a large winged speed boats. It’s all very “futuristic” without being overly silly on the designs.

Helping or hindering you on the race track you find speed pads and weapon pick-ups if enabled. This will boost you well over the 500mph mark. If you didn’t have enough to worry about with all the quick turns and twisting tracks, you also have to dodge and counter attack other racers with weapons.  Also new to WipEout pulse is the introduction of magnetic strips that keep your ship on the road when upside down. While keeping the blistering speed you can now hook onto the mag-strip and act like a cart on a rollercoaster doing sic loops in the midst of an intense rate, it’s a great idea that fits perfectly.

WipEout doesn’t skimp out on any of the features that are in full sized racers. In Pulse you’ll have the luxury of ghost tracks, crisp clear visuals and the ability to build customizable race and grids. WipEout Pulse also supports online gaming for up to eight players in both Infrastructure and Ad Hoc play. Online, which I dared to venture into only a handful of times played smooth as the offline experience. If you're make it into the win column more than a few times you can also tracking your progress on the leader boards. One more interesting feature in Pulse is the ability to take in-game photos and send them to friends, for those who like to hold their perfect gaming memories in picture format forever.

WipEout fans, WipEout Pulse is a must have edition in the franchise. Until the PS3 version is released WipEout Pulse has enough "good" to cool your futuristic jump jets. The formula hasn’t been tampered with, the graphics and sound still keep a high level of production, and best of all there are bunch of create modes and online play to keep you glued to the race track long after the career mode is finished. If you’re a gamer who like challenging racers then step up to the gravity defying mag-strip and take on WipEout Pulse head-to-head.

Gameplay: 9, Graphics: 8.5, Sound: 9, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 9. Final: 8.7 / 10

Reviewed by Tinnanski | 02.25.08

  • Wipeout Pulse features 12 all-new tracks, with forward and reverse routes, also known as "black" and "white" runs.
  • Multiplayer via Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure.
  • Twelve teams total, including the new EG-X and Mirage teams. Eight are available initially, but the remaining teams will be available for download.
  • New “Mag-Strip” track feature allows ships to magnetically stick to tracks. This allows certain tracks to feature loops and 90-degree drops.
  • Custom soundtrack feature allows playback of MP3s stored on the PSP Memory Stick.
  • An all-new Photo Mode, which captures in-game screenshots and stores them onto the PSP Memory Card.
  • Like Wipeout Pure, the game features downloadable content, such as new tracks, ships and songs, immediately after release.
  • 7 Game Modes, with Single Race, Zone, Tournament, and Time Trial returning from WipEout Pure, plus the addition of the all-new Speed Lap and Head-to-Head modes, and the return of Eliminator mode last seen in Wipeout 3.
  • Eliminator mode features 2 all-new weapons exclusive to the game mode: Repulsor and Shurikens.
  • Zone mode will now be playable on most (but not all) of the normal tracks instead of custom made tracks.
  • A loyalty system, where players get bonuses for using a particular team regularly.

WipEout Pulse

Sony Liverpool
US Released
Feb '08